Jamie Oliver shares his simple recipe for the perfect gravy that will "transform" Christmas dinner

Publish Date
Friday, 1 December 2023, 10:57AM

It's just three weeks to go till Christmas - and let's be honest, it's not the festive period without delicious homemade gravy!

And, thankfully, TV chef Jamie Oliver has shared his recipe for the perfect gravy which will "transform" your Christmas dinner. 

For those who are tight on time, Jamie suggests: "This year, open your mind to a slightly radical idea: make your gravy a few days, or even weeks in advance, simply reheating it on your oven tray on the big day. Stress saved."

His recipe makes one litre, and cooks in two hours plus cooling.

Two onions
Two carrots
Two sticks of celery
Two rashers of higher-welfare smoked streaky bacon
Two fresh bay leaves
Two sprigs of fresh sage
Two sprigs of fresh rosemary
Two star anise
10 free-range chicken wings
Olive oil
60 ml sherry or port, optional
Four tablespoons plain flour
Two tablespoons cranberry sauce


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Peel the onions, wash the carrots, then roughly chop with the celery and bacon. Put the veg, bay leaves, sage, rosemary and star anise into a sturdy high-sided roasting tray, then scatter the chopped bacon on top.
  3. Break the chicken wings open, bash with a rolling pin to help release extra flavour as they cook, then add to the tray. Drizzle with oil, season with sea salt and black pepper, toss, then cook for one hour, or until tender.
  4. Remove the tray from the oven and transfer to a low heat on the hob. Really grind and mash everything with a potato masher, scraping up all the goodness from the base of the tray (the longer you let it fry, the darker your gravy will be). If you want to add sherry or port, now’s the time to do so; just leave it to cook away for a few minutes.
  5. Gradually stir in the flour, then pour in two litres of boiling kettle water. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until thickened and reduced, stirring occasionally.
  6. When the gravy is the consistency of your liking, pour it through a coarse sieve into a large bowl, pushing all the goodness through with the back of a spoon. Taste and season to perfection, cool to room temperature, then pour into containers or bags and pop into the fridge or freezer, ready to finish off on Christmas Day.

On the day:

  1. If frozen, take the gravy out to defrost.
  2. Pour your get-ahead gravy into a pan and bring it to the boil over the hob. Stir in the Cranberry sauce to balance the flavours.
  3. Once your gravy is piping hot, leave it on the lowest heat until you’re ready to serve.

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